• Misled Millennial

10 Ways to Stop Negative Self-Talk!

How is it the end of February already? I feel like I’ve leant on my life remote and skipped a bit!

February has been our month of self-love over here and I’ve loved every minute. We have looked at the deeper side of self-love and how to truly find happiness in our lives.

We have covered…

- How to set personal boundaries

- How self-love can improve our relationships with others

- How to remove toxic people

And now, the final instalment…

How to stop negative self-talk!

Negative self-talk absolutely sucks! It's the biggest feeder of our insecurities, self-doubt and poor mental health. We speak to ourselves in a way we would never dream of speaking to others. It causes us to punish ourselves, mock ourselves and, in some cases, hate ourselves for what we are.

Negative self-talk kills more dreams than failure ever could. It stops us from believing in ourselves, supporting ourselves, and above all, loving ourselves. Well, not today Satan. This blog post is going to show you how we can shift our mindset, retrain our brains and give negative self-talk the middle finger. Who’s with me?!

10 ways to stop negative self-talk!

1) Practice mindfulness – I know, I know, you read this and think you have to buy a pair of yoga pants, hike a mountain and stand on one leg until you reach inner peace. It’s really not like that.

Mindfulness is just being aware of your thoughts and emotions, and how your body feels. Mindfulness can be achieved by taking 5 minutes each day to stop and focus on your breathing. Once your breathing is relaxed, take the time to acknowledge what you are thinking and how you are feeling. Are you stressed? Do you feel tense? Is your body comfortable? Be aware of your mental state, acknowledge it and breathe through it. Over time, this method will help you calm your mind and gain control over your thoughts. Stopping negative self-talk is all about retraining our brains.

2) Practice noting – This follows on from mindfulness. Noting is the idea that when a thought pops into our heads, we acknowledge it, label it and move on. Our brain is always throwing thoughts at us, at what seems like a gazillion times a second! It’s hard to keep up. Which is why our negative self-talk becomes such an unhealthy habit. We never take the time to slow our mind down and note how we are treating ourselves.

So, try it, get comfortable, regulate your breathing and just sit for 5 minutes. As thoughts and feelings creep in, (this will happen and is totally normal), just label them ‘thought’, ‘feeling’, ‘negative self-talk’, then try and bring your focus back to your breathing. This will help you identify two things…

- How often negative self-talk is happening

- What aspects of your life, are the negative thoughts targeting?

This will not only help you rationalise these awful thoughts, it will give you some insight as to why they are happening.

I use Headspace to practice mindfulness and noting. The app explains all of this in detail and guides you through each meditation. I highly recommend it.

3) It’s not me, it’s you – Now I have seen this idea in both The Chimp Paradox and Psychology Today. The idea is this, to truly acknowledge your negative self-talk, you must separate it from yourself. You are not saying these awful things, it is the irrational part of your brain. A part that you can learn to control.

In The Chimp Paradox, it’s referred to as your ‘chimp’. It’s the emotional side of your brain that thinks without permission. You are the logical side of your brain, that is rational and compassionate. Your ‘chimp’ is responsible for the irrational thoughts that cause us to doubt ourselves, put ourselves down and think we aren’t good enough. However, we can learn to control it, by following the steps in this post and shifting our mindset.

4) Put a name on it – I saw this on Psychology Today and loved the concept. The writer refers to your ‘chimp’ as your ‘inner critic’, and suggests you give it a name. This not only helps you separate yourself from the irrational side of your brain, but you can also have some fun with it! Try anything, Barbara, Steve, knob head, whatever works really. The idea is to disassociate yourself with this negative behaviour, therefore, removing its power and rationalising your thoughts.

5) Defend yourself – Now, don’t sit there having a full on domestic with yourself. It’s just not productive. Instead, come up with reasons why you are good enough. Write them down and read over them when negative self-talk starts to occur. Here’s an example...

- The negative self-talk often happens over your relationship with others. It constantly makes you feel as though you aren’t good enough or deserving. It plants doubt and paranoia in your mind that people don’t really like you all that much.

- Instead of giving into the feelings of self-doubt, and convincing yourself you should buy 10 cats and be done with it, write down 3 reasons you are great in your relationships with others: -

- You are kind,

- You listen to others,

- You have made so many smiles happen.

Each time you question yourself, refer to these points, until it becomes your standard way of thinking. We can retrain our brains to think about ourselves more positively, rather than negatively.

6) Stop comparing yourself – Comparison is one of the biggest causes of negative self-talk. You see a glimpse into someone’s life and assume they are better than you. You start wishing you were like them, and therefore, beat yourself up for being you. Comparison isn’t healthy, or true. You never know anyone’s full story, so don’t assuming you do and punishing yourself. I have a whole post on how to stop comparing yourself to others here.

7) Do good, feel good – Be a good person. If you are doing little acts of kindness every day, you will feel good about yourself. When you are in a positive frame of mind, it’s much harder for negative self-talk to hurt you. Give a stranger a compliment, hold the door open for someone, donate to a food bank, check in on an old friend. You don’t have to be Mother Teresa, just be kind. This will also give you more reasons to fight against the negative self-talk, as you will start to believe you’re a good person and deserving of good things.

8) Practice gratitude – A big part of combating negative self-talk, is a perspective change. Choose happiness. Choose self-love. This takes time and work, but you can train your brain into having a positive mindset about life. Start small, write down 3 things each day that you are grateful for; your health, your family, a cup of tea. Within a week, you will have put together a list of 21 little things you are grateful for. Focus on positivity and your mindset will reflect this.

9) Self-love – This may seem obvious, but it’s so true. Take the time to appreciate and love yourself for what you are. Instead of always focusing on your weaknesses, look at your strengths. Start to feel pride over the life you have created, rather than punishing, and neglecting yourself. Stuck for ideas, click here for 20 ways to spice up your self-love life.

10) Self-care – Take time to look after yourself better. Ensure you are well rested, healthy, and schedule in down-time. Overcoming negative self-talk, and retraining your brain, can be hard work. Appreciate how brave you are being and look after you. Do the things you love and that make you feel good. Whether it’s having a bath, or a gentle walk. Once you start to invest in yourself, you are already starting the process of training your brain to be kinder to yourself. Click here for a copy of my 31 day self-care challenge.

I really hope this post has shown you that it is possible to retrain your brain, to shift your perspective and outlook on life, and regain control. When you are battling your own head every day, it can feel like trying to run uphill, except the hill is on fire, and you’re covered in lighter fluid! You feel like you’ll never escape. It is however, possible. Our mind is capable of such awesome things, let’s start using it to create a happy life, that we love, and are in control of.

Here’s to positive self-talk and loving ourselves!

I cannot wait for the day you realise that you are enough. You have always been enough. - K. Azizian

In case you want to read more on this topic, here’s 3 articles I found super helpful…

- 10 Types of Negative Self-Talk (and How to Correct Them) - Nick Wignall

- 4 Ways to Stop Negative Self-Talk - Caroline Zwickson

- 4 Ways to Stop Beating Yourself Up, Once and For All - Jennice Vilhaeur

I’m also always here, should you ever want to talk. I’m so proud of you for taking the steps to love yourself.

As always, tight squeezes! X

Question of the week: What part of today are you most grateful for?

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